How have you been? Ready for another dose of MarineWard? Enjoy!
Chapter-4: Messy Business
The moment he stepped into the mess hall, his eyes found her.
There she stood, with her back resting against a tent pole and a smile on her lips as she talked animatedly to Seth Clearwater, a Lance Corporal on his first deployment. It’s in the unwritten rule book of marine instructors to be unbiased toward their subordinates. Being the stickler for Marine Corps Code, Edward had always followed that to a T. Until that moment.
The moment he saw the brunette beauty standing there with her eyes sparkling with mirth and her hand resting on Seth’s arm, it felt like all he could see was red. He wished he could tear Clearwater limb from limb just for being the one to share her smiles.
As if it wasn’t enough, something the witless wonder said made her laugh out loud. Not being able to hold in his unreasonable anger, Edward called out, “Clearwater!”
Like magic, Seth straightened up, his back stiff as a board as he responded to him. “Yes, Sir!“
Edward approached the duo, the sound of his boots hitting the ground ringing loud in his own ears. When he was standing in front of them, he looked at Seth, completely ignoring his companion. “Have you forgotten what day it is, Lance Corporal?”
“Monday, Sir,” he answered.
“And whose turn is it in the guard duty tonight?”
“Black and mine, Sir.”
“Then you’d do well to stop chatting up strangers and get your ass into gear in time for your shift, Marine!” Even after knowing full well that he was just talking to her, Edward couldn’t help but respond to the anger coursing through his body.
“Sir!” the boy younger to him said, offering him a salute and walking away.
A sick satisfaction ran through Edward as he watched Clearwater walk away without even daring to look back at her.
“Am I really a stranger?”
His moment of male pride evaporated by the sound of the soft spoken question. Despite having no intention of facing her, he turned around. “Excuse me?” he asked, purposefully playing dumb.
She moved away from the tent wall then. “I asked,” she repeated. “Am I really a stranger?”
“Oh!” He exclaimed, raising an eyebrow in surprise. “I didn’t know you and Lance Corporal Clearwater knew each other.”
Her eyes narrowed as she stood up straighter. “I didn’t know him until an hour ago,” she said. “I was talking about us. I thought we knew each other.”
He blinked at her blatantly bringing up the past.
“I guess I thought wrong,” she added after a moment. “The Edward I knew would never consider me a stranger.”
That made him clench his jaw. “Sadly, Miss Isa, the Edward you knew doesn’t exist anymore,” he responded in a hard voice.
“So I see,” she whispered before walking away, leaving him feeling worse than before.
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